DARIEN GAP, Panama — Migrants flocking to the United States are part of an unbroken chain that stretches all the way to South America. The impact of the journey north by thousands of people has a huge impact on the communities they pass through.
CBN News once again traveled to the famous Darien Gap region to witness the mass migration through treacherous terrain.
As we have observed, what was once one of the most isolated and pristine jungles on planet Earth is now an environmental disaster. The detritus of the river banks that people once depended on for their water. The bitter irony is that now, in a place that receives tens of meters of rain every year, these indigenous tribes must now import bottled water.
We visited the Rio Turquesa as we entered the Darien Gap. Around 8 a.m., we passed dozens and dozens of boats full of migrants. These migrants come from all over the world and are all heading towards the edge of the river, where the road is. But there aren’t enough boats to get them out of here and onto the road where they can continue their journey to the United States.
READ A record 250,000 migrants crossed the Darien divide in 2022 after Mayorkas pledged to help close it
Three hours upstream, we arrive at the last village before reaching the Colombian border. The scene is apocalyptic.
Thousands of migrants arrive every day. More than six times the original population of the village. There is nowhere to sleep and no adequate facilities for the flood of humans arriving after six days in the jungle.
People queue to sign up for the boat ride, standing for hours in the unforgiving sun. Although many suffer from heatstroke, the small clinic has almost nothing to offer.
We watched people faint left and right in the hot sun. There aren’t many resources here to solve this problem. At the clinic, they need volunteers and supplies. With thousands of people coming here every day, they simply cannot take care of everyone who comes with needs.
At this point in their journey, these migrants have already been walking in the jungle for five or six days. When they get here, they’re all half dead. Some of them are mostly dead, completely dehydrated, passed out in the sun. And they really need time to recover before continuing their journey.
Many die in the jungle.
We spoke to Tabir, an Afghan migrant. He told us: “People were walking past the river. They just saw the corpses in front of them. And me and my friends went and covered them in plastic because we didn’t want any wild animals to eat them or anything like that. And also there were children and also families. They were passing by, we didn’t want them to see the bodies. And it was extremely, extremely dangerous. And I think that the people who are going to have to go through this, they are going to live the nightmare of this path until the end of their lives, unfortunately.”
The residents here are also suffering.
Jason Cook, a Darien resident, said, “They’re not getting any outside help…all these communities are really suffering.” And even with sanitation and places to stay for people, that’s why they’re building the new site down there. the river is to get them out of here and to a different site, away from the village because I guess their children don’t even go to school. You know, there are parties late at night and they can’t sleep. So that’s a problem with them.”
Today, this tribe has reached a breaking point. They are building a separate camp for migrants on the other side of the river. One that can hold up to 15,000.
Pablo Guainora, general director of Comarca Embera/Wounan, said: “We decided that it would be a shelter away from the community, which should give migrants their own place to feed and house, because it affected every aspect of their lives. our lives, including social, economic, cultural and even educational.
Lucindo Dojirama, a police officer from the indigenous community, said: “We are setting up a shelter for a better quality of life for migrants. We want things to be more organized. Right now, they are defecating in the same streets where they sleep. Nobody We want everything to be well organized and in order so that migrants feel better when they arrive in the community.
This year, the number of people crossing the divide en route to the United States has exceeded 350,000, already 100,000 more than in 2022. And despite the toll of human misery, this number continues to rise .